Magazine article The Christian Century

Church of England Approves Process to Ordain Female Bishops

Magazine article The Christian Century

Church of England Approves Process to Ordain Female Bishops

Article excerpt

After deciding that ordaining women bishops is theologically justifiable, the Church of England on July 10 adopted a plan to explore the practical and legislative steps to make it happen.

The Church of England July 8 affirmed at its General Synod at York University that admitting women to the episcopate "is consonant with the faith of the church." The motion passed with majorities in each house--bishops (31 to 9), clergy (134 to 42) and laity (123 to 68). The enabling motion adopted two days later invites dioceses, deaneries and parishes "to continue serious debate and reflection" on the issues.

Clergy and parishes opposed to women as bishops may threaten to withhold funds and seek enclaves of male-only clergy and like-minded bishops. One opponent of female bishops, David Houlding, said the vote was a "huge insult to the Roman Catholic Church."

The Vatican's top ecumenical official, Cardinal Walter Kasper, in June warned Church of England bishops against introducing women bishops. Kasper said such a move would render any hopes of Catholic-Anglican unity "unreachable."

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams had responded to Kasper, saying that "nothing is served by avoiding these hard questions. …

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